The Perfect Wedge Salad

I really enjoy a good wedge salad and order them on occasion at a few popular chain restaurants – BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Outback Steakhouse and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Not sure what side of the steakhouse vs. steak house fence I reside on, I just know that nothing beats a good, crispy wedge salad on a chilled plate. Whether there is a space or not between “steak” and “house” doesn’t get me all fired up. Just bring on the wedge.

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I started searching for copycat recipes online and found a couple and tweaked the ingredients to my liking. I’ve not always been a huge blue cheese fan. I’ve come to realize that there is a HUGE difference between blue cheeses and paying a little extra for quality is worth it. I am strangely also not a fan of blue cheese dressing on my wedge salads – I’m a simple gal that prefers ranch with chunks of blue cheese sold separately :).

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I braved Costco 2 days before the holidays to score some Point Reyes Original Blue™ and it was totally worth dodging pumpkin pie toting holiday shoppers to get some. The above wedge was just under $15.00 – sorry I forgot to note the actual weight. I know I was able to use it in several other recipes as well. An additional bonus to braving Costco was scoring two awesome dog beds for the fur kids. 

I was first introduced to Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese at a Foodbuzz festival in San Francisco. It was being served at one of the sponsored parties I attended. It was velvety smooth and had more of a medium to strong flavor punch compared to some that tend to overwhelm your palate. I have also tried their White Cheddar and would love to try their Point Reyes Toma.

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My next wedge salad ingredient find was this Limited Edition – Wright Brand – Honey Bourbon Flavored Bacon. I found it at a Walmart Neighborhood Market for $8.99. This is SCREAMIN’ good bacon. I baked it on parchment paper in the oven and it crisped to perfection, while still leaving me with a center cut – meaty texture – easy for crumbling onto my salads. I’ve since gone back to stock up – I’ve got a package in the freezer and another one ready in the fridge for random BLT delights. Dan is a big fan.

The one thing I like about Outback’s wedge is their use of a balsamic reduction. I knew I needed to recreate that in my own version, so I ended up using that portion of one of the copycat recipes I found on Pinterest via Lexie’s Kitchen and Living blog.

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Balsamic Drizzle Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/8 Cup Honey
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 Head Iceberg Lettuce – quartered
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Medium Sized Red Onion – finely diced
  • 1-2 Medium Tomatoes – seeded and diced – could also use grape or cherry
  • 8 Bacon Strips – 2 per salad
  • Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese
  • Ranch Dressing – I made a pack of Hidden Valley Original Ranch

Directions

  1. Chill plates for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
  2. In small sauce pan, bring Balsamic Drizzle ingredients to a gentle simmer and reduce to a thick syrup.
  3. Make ranch dressing and chill. Could also use pre-made/bottled.
  4. Cook, crumble and set aside bacon. Note: I baked mine in the oven at 350º F. on parchment for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Cut lettuce into four wedges and place on chilled plates.
  6. Drizzle with ranch dressing and then add tomato, red onion and crumbled bacon to each wedge.
  7. Top salads with balsamic glaze drizzle and blue cheese crumbles and serve.

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The Perfect Wedge Salad
Delicious "Outback" like wedge salad with ranch and balsamic drizzle, bacon, tomato, red onion and blue cheese crumbles.
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Balsamic Drizzle Ingredients
  1. 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  2. 1/8 Cup Honey
  3. 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Salad Ingredients
  1. 1 Head Iceberg Lettuce - quartered
  2. 1/4 to 1/2 Medium Sized Red Onion - finely diced
  3. 1-2 Medium Tomatoes - seeded and diced - could also use grape or cherry
  4. 8 Bacon Strips - 2 per salad
  5. Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese
  6. Ranch Dressing - I made a pack of Hidden Valley Original Ranch
Instructions
  1. Chill plates for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
  2. In small sauce pan, bring Balsamic Drizzle ingredients to a gentle simmer and reduce to a thick syrup.
  3. Make ranch dressing and chill. Could also use pre-made/bottled.
  4. Cook, crumble and set aside bacon. Note: I baked mine in the oven at 350º F. on parchment for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Cut lettuce into four wedges and place on chilled plates.
  6. Drizzle with ranch dressing and then add tomato, red onion and crumbled bacon to each wedge.
  7. Top salads with balsamic glaze drizzle, blue cheese crumbles and serve.
Adapted from Lexie's Kitchen and Living
Adapted from Lexie's Kitchen and Living
Foodiddy http://foodiddy.com/

I made the salad several times over my holiday break and know that it will continue to be a “go to” recipe for me. I also stopped in at an Outback just to try theirs again and I like being able to control the amount of dressing used – they get pretty generous. I prefer it on the lighter side, especially when used in combination with the balsamic drizzle. Sure, I can ask for dressing on the side, but it’s all about how things are layered my friends… the ranch goes first, always FIRST. 🙂

In other news… I had a fabulous Christmas/winter break and I’m pretty excited to see what’s in store for 2015. It’s definitely time to get back in the kitchen. I took advantage of easy dinners and tried some new restaurants with friends, but I also started the new year off right by getting back to my usual Sunday meal prep for the week. Now I just need to get back to exercise, baby steps… baby steps. 

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1 comment

    • Amy on January 23, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    My mouth is watering now….. I LOVE wedge salads… I’m a ranch girl most of the time but strange enough… on a wedge salad I prefer the blue cheese dressing and crumbles! Yum!!

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